Antiwar activists split over Obama's Afghanistan policy
Lawmakers and others who were against the Iraq war generally support the president. But they worry about another 'quagmire.'
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The reason the US is in Afghanistan is that we were attacked, he adds. "As someone who fought in Iraq, I don't think people are as ready to give up on President Obama as they were on George Bush. I'm biased to think that we give this president a chance."Skip to next paragraph
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On Capitol Hill, the once-robust Out of Iraq Caucus has also been largely silent on the troop buildup in Afghanistan. Members say they're still working to find common ground.
Meanwhile, the Out of Iraq Caucus will be sponsoring forums to help educate members. "History makes it clear that the Afghan people do not look kindly on foreign armies," Rep. Woolsey said in a floor speech on March 30.
"I am also concerned about the cost of sending more troops, the cost in both lives and treasure. It will require a 60 percent increase in military spending at a time when our economy right here at home is suffering so badly," she said. "Now is the time to pause to consider whether there are other alternatives to sending our troops to Afghanistan."
United in opposition to the war in Iraq, liberal Democrats – many of whom have yet to state publicly their view on the buildup – are breaking out more nuanced positions on the war in Afghanistan. Some favor it; some oppose it. All want the president to be successful, and they say it's too early for a confrontation on the policy.
"He's moving away from a military-only protocol that was the hallmark of the Bush years – to the degree that Bush and Cheney were interested in Afghanistan at all – in favor of a community-based, civilian-based, civil society-based policy," says Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) of Hawaii, a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus.
"Whether or not that succeeds obviously is something that is still open, but it won't be from lack of effort on the president's part," he says.
"Those of us who lived through Vietnam are very upset with what's going on [in Afghanistan]," he says. "All of us want him to succeed, desperately want him to succeed. But we worry that as John Kennedy got wrapped up by those guys that sent him to the Bay of Pigs, he'll listen to the guys who say: 'Mr. President, you want to look good, don't you? You don't want to look like a quitter or a loser or weak?'"